Chihoi in Montreal

After TCAF Joe Ollmann and I drove to Montreal with Chihoi, who took a long deserved nap. There is a 12 hour time difference from Hong Kong but he never showed jet lag. Chihoi was coming to Canada for the first time and wanted to stay a week so I figured he should see more than just Toronto. So we set up an event for him at the Drawn and Quarterly bookstore in collaboration with Koyama Press and the launch of Julie Delporte’s poetic Journal. But first we needed breakfast!
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It was strange explaining to him that as we walked through Park Ex people on the street would be speaking Hindi, then as we crossed St Laurent into Villeray they would all be speaking French. Also of course there was hockey on every tv in the corner. I started to see all the Canadianisms through his eyes.

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We quickly made our way to the Drawn and Quarterly store where we met Julie and Jeanette Kelly from the CBC who interviewed them both for the next morning’s show Daybreak. Great publicity. Also Jeff Miller reviewed The Library in the local paper that week. I was hoping for big crowds.

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And then we hit some Mile End landmarks. First up. Bagels!

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Monastiraki with Billy Mavreas, and check out Joe photo bombing via the mirror.

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Japanese paper store to get pencils.

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Throughout it all Chihoi remained affable and interesting. I do think he liked our little tour. But when Joe asked what he wanted to eat he said he missed rice! So of course we took him to a Chinese/Pakistani resto.

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Here is is checking out Sam’s sketchbook. As befitting a son of a cartoonist, Sam’s sketchbook is pretty awesome. That’s Taien on the left. 

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Next day was the big event. I had meetings with authours while Chihoi checked out the Old Port. Met with Jonathan Reid Sevigny about his new book. Here he is in his studio.

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Then it was the big event. I didn’t need to worry about the crowds, people came out in droves. In fact some couldn’t even get in the door. Sorry about that.

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Chihoi gave an excellent presentation, putting Hong Kong comics into perspective (gangsters) and discussing his own work. 

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Then it was Julie’s turn to present her work. She gave it a good showing until breaking down in tears near the end. I raced up on stage with a glass of wine for her and told jokes until she bravely carried on. We had a tour of her pencil case. Later she got hugs from her supporters.

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Lots of local luminaries came out. It was great to see so many old friends in one place. I miss you Montreal.

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Taien and Joe talk to Wiretap’s Jonathan Goldstein.

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Sarah Glidden had made the trip from TCAF and was also a tourist in Montreal. Here she is comparing notes about poutine with Chihoi.

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Howard Chackowicz, Billy, and Pat McEown who had launched his new book at TCAF.

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The future of Conundrum is in capable hands. Meags Fitzgerald and Dakota McFadzean.

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After the show we tried unsuccessfully to find poutine and I walked through the streets of Park Ex with Chihoi. We stumbled on this building, the home of the Drawn and Quarterly offices.

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And then it was all over for me. Chihoi headed back to Toronto for more adventures and I drove the 14 hours home. Thanks to Joe for putting us up (and putting up with us), and of course to the staff of the DandQ store who are always a delight to work with. See you in two weeks for the FBDM… 

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